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Will local banks let corporate lending opportunity slip?

As lending activity at US and European banks continues to be significantly curtailed, a Nikkei report says Japanese companies are increasingly turning to domestic banks for loans. But anyone who thinks this might lead to a surge in corporate banking recruitment could be disappointed.

Nikkei quotes a Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ executive, who says the megabank has received “a flurry of applications worth about 100 billion”, but the article adds that with J-banks restricted by their own need for capital, they may not be able to take advantage of the “soaring demand” for corporate loans.

Guy Howard, associate director, banking, at Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan, says he has seen no evidence that Japanese banks are cashing in on demand.

“It is an opportunity for Japanese firms. They are better placed and the potential is there, but as a recruiter there are no signs the Japanese firms are hiring in any greater numbers in this area. Just like other areas, corporate banking is a tight market but there are opportunities there. However, I haven’t seen any evidence that it will be growing rapidly any time soon,” adds Howard

Donald Eddy, manager, corporate finance and real estate, at Robert Walters Japan, says he is surprised he hasn’t seen an increase in Japanese firms recruiting for roles such as relationship managers and loan originators in corporate banking.

“I would have thought Japanese firms would have been picking up some of the people let go by the foreign banks. There is some really strong talent available out there,” says Eddy.

It looks like J-banks may be missing out on a golden opportunity.

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